When life gets in the way of blessings

“Count your blessings and you will start to lose count.”

The first time I heard this quote my mind was blown. I texted about twenty people sharing it with them and felt so high on life and Jesus I knew nothing could bring me down. Fast forward about five years and this phrase, to me, has become nothing but a quote you would find on a coaster purchased at a Cracker Barrel- meaningful but over used.

Lately I have been very blessed, but I haven’t been acting like it. Jesus would bless me with something that had been prayed over for many months, and there was hardly any time spent basking in this great gift. Instead I would move onto the next thing, thinking: “yeah this is great but I still need X in order to fulfill Y and Z”. Now this is common for someone with anxiety, but this did not need to be my life.

99B80E66-C1AC-4D97-86EC-79E96F30FA20.jpeg

The other day I was driving home from the gym. Normally some sort of noise must be playing before I even start driving but then I thought: “Don’t put in music or a podcast- talk to Jesus.” The fact that this had become sort of forgein to me made me sad, but felt refreshing once I began. It is always awkward knowing where to start when we talk to God, so I just began to thank Him for me recent blessings. I could sense The Lord saying - “Look at how I provided for you in your time of need, don’t worry I can work miracles more than a few times.”

The point is I need to stop trying to control all of my outcomes. It is such a relief knowing we do not have to have it all figured out. My goal is to stop myself when I get into future planning mode, and look at my present and thank God for bringing me to where I am. Trying to control everything only leaves us tired- and most of us do not have enough time for naps. ❤️

When your enneagram is the same as everyone

The enneagram: I feel like this was a test that came out of no where and everyone jumped on the band wagon like it was trendy new way to wear jeans. Every millenial female would be asking me what my number was and vise versa. While I love the enneagram, I also kind of hate it. Mostly I have a love hate relationship with my number, the very common 2: The Helper. Now before you jump to conclusions, the reasons for this feelings may be a little different than you think.

90526BEC-B7B2-4AC1-8DC5-0CFFDAD66EE4.jpeg

I grew up on Meyers Briggs. My dad is basically certified in this personality type of test so it was something I always knew about. When people began to tell me about the Enneagram I became very interested. I knew I loved a good quiz and anything that exposes why people are the way they are always fascinates me. The more the people around me talked about it however the more I felt disconnected to the people I knew experiencing break throughs of sorts.

Over a couple of years I heard many different stories of people finally being able to understand themselves and understand the people around them better. It was like light bulbs were going off all over my generation. But I never had that moment. I would think: did I miss something? Is something wrong with me?

So many people I knew were realizing they were a 2 on the enneagram. They were having those light bulb moments, but nothing about the “helper” felt new to me as an individual. I didn’t feel like I wanted to neglect the characteristic of a 2: I knew I thrived off of meeting the needs of others and I also new that I was insecure and would question others reciprocated love for me. What bothered me was how many women were identifying with this number.

IMG_3061.jpeg

Certain podcasts, and studies describe how many women (many being Christian women) feel as though they have to identify with a 2. Hearing this made me angry and caused me to question my own instincts. Was I just identifying with a norm that many women believed they had to follow? Then I began to believe I needed to highlight other things about myself: I am selfish and for the most part I can say no, there is no way I am a 2.

Recently however I have been having some break throughs. When old wounds of my life were finally finishing their healing cycle I realized something: many of my old wounds had to do with others or myself rejecting who I was as a human being. Whether that be people speaking against how much I love others, saying it’s “a little too much” or that my confidence was actually pride. Here is what actually matters: The Lord is our only true judge of character and something I really needed to remind myself was that He is the ultimate helper.

We are all on a journey of discovery; searching for who we are and what makes us the best version of ourselves. I’m happy there are so many outlets for people to use on their own journey. We all have a different pace but the outcome is that we all matter, no matter how differently we arrived to our destination.

41327388-674F-409C-BC01-BA3D45E4FCFB.jpeg

What Parks and Rec Taught Me About Love

The Office is my favorite show of all time… and I don’t really see that changing. But it is not a show I will always look at as the prime example for many of life’s valuable lessons. With every re-watch, the more I dislike Jim and Pam’s relationship and question why I aspired to something of their caliber. The show with advice that ages better than fine wine is Parks and Recreation.

I picked up parks and rec when it was almost wrapping up its second to last season. Being an office fan, I loved the dry humor and crazy cast, but what stood out the most was the relationships. While all be it silly, I caught myself being moved by the romances (coming from someone who can feel pretty cynical about relationships). There are a couple quotes from the show that have stuck with me for years and have changed the way I view love and relationships:

“This is the woman I have chosen to love” - Ben Wyatt

Ben Wyatt. My dream man. I love this line of his for so many reasons. Ben makes this comment when Leslie sends him on a crazy intricate scavenger hunt that produces mostly stress for Ben. But he doesn’t care. He knows his love for Leslie and he knows that this love is a choice, a choice he is happy to make over and over again. Throughout the series Ben and Leslie both make decisions and sacrifices because they have chosen each other. They do what needs to be done to make their relationship work and they know it’s not going to be perfect and life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies.

I love you and I like you.

I love you and I like you.

There are plenty of soul mates out there” - Leslie Knope

Leslie, the queen of all that she survays. When Chris gets dumped by Jerry’s daughter he believes she was the best he would ever have. That she was his soul mate and now they are not together. Leslie’s response is perfect- there isn’t one particular soulmate out there for all of us. This is my opinion but I think the belief in soulmates has caused so many of us to stop living the life to our best. The idea of soulmates is so dangerous, it can prevent us from moving forward from something that was not meant to last forever. I am so glad I don’t believe in soulmates anymore and I am thankful that Leslie reminds to keep searching for the good that is waiting for us.

“Do not mistake drama for happiness” - Ron Swanson

There is a whole podcast just about this quote but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it (Mel if you’re reading put it in the comments haha.) This may be the best Parks and Rec lesson on love. I am guilty of this- thinking relationship drama is a good thing, an exciting thing. More than not I have fallen for the types that “I could fix”, and it’s left me hurt and drained. Consistency and loyalty isn’t boring. Sitting on the couch watching tv with your partner for hours and going to bed by 8pm is not mundane. I would even add that being on your own is that much more okay. There have been so many moments in my single life where I wished I could have someone to think about, to “have drama with”. Why would I wish for that when my best life is right here in front of me?

As always thanks for reading. I love you and I like you.

Books That Impacted Me In 2018

Book sales have been increasing since 2013. People are reading more than we could have ever hoped for in the modern age. This makes me giddy. While I feel as though I go through books slower than ever, I LOVE READING. Like most avid readers, I love the crisp feeling of the pages telling the story. Contrary to some, I do not geek out over old books (I actually hate the smell), but adore getting an amazon package with something new (no not as romantic sounding, but hey we all have our things that make us happy). While books do not tend to impact me as much as film, 2018 was a great year for reading, here are my favorites:

4C0DF015-0A1D-4130-AC2E-BB9937AD7302.JPG

Love Her Wild By: Atticus

The rise of poets in this technical age astounds me and I am here for it. Like most 20 something females, I love Rupi Kaur, but did not read Atticus until last year. This collection of poems is captivating. January 2018 was a month of healing for me, a month where I finally let myself embrace emotions again. This book helped me with that. There are days where I come back to it and feel at piece and inspired.

Finding Audrey By: Sophie Kinsella

Media tries and tries to portray mental illness, and rarely do a good job. When the job is done right, the end result tends to be a dark tale. Finding Audrey tells a story of a girl with terrible social anxiety and the result is light hearted, humorous, respectful, and eye opening. This story helps the invisible feel seen. It is deeply moving and left me with the biggest smile on my face.

The Lonely City By: Olivia Laing

This book was nothing like what I expected. Honestly, I do not want to describe it that much. This is one of those books that you just have to pick up and read. What I will say is that last page moved me to tears and validated my life of being single more than most non-fiction could.

DE1A2944-EF44-4AC8-8D1E-37E2E939F259.JPG

Little Fires Everywhere By: Celeste Ng

Yes, everyone and their mom read this book in 2018, and for good reason. The writing is superb and I could not put it down. What made this an impact-full story more than just a page turner was the questions it leaves you with. When a story makes you thinking about right and wrong long after you are done, you know you’ve read a masterpiece.

Call Me By Your Name By: Andre Aciman

You guys know I loved the film and the book is no different (although it has a few more cringe inducing moments). What I loved about reading the book was how it had much of the conversations that took place in the film, but with so much more. The same points are raised: how we should accept those who are different from us and how we need to allow our souls to feel. Reading these words gave me the same feeling that I get from laying out by a pool for hours: I am able to pause, reflect, and not be concerned about the things that do not matter.

D39A593A-CF09-4337-956E-D65FC709DE94.JPG

Films That Impacted Me In 2018

Each year is an open door for an infinite amount of movies. While the relationship was short lived, I spent many nights with my boyfriend, Mr. Movie Pass, in 2018. He kept me sane during the many rough days I had at the beginning of the new year (Was the start of 2018 way worse than the rest of the year for anyone else?) There were many solo movie dates I embarked on, mostly to catch up for the 2018 Oscars. Yet I walked away greatly impacted by some incredible movies:

472BA14D-C166-4C51-A3A6-16355C0E7249.jpeg

5. The Shape of Water

Okay, technically this came out in 2017 but I saw it in the theater in 2018. Initially when I saw this film, I was too taken aback by the odd nature of the plot. After the second viewing though, I fell completely in love with this film. Yes, the plot is not easy to relate to (no I am not in love with a merman), but the movie as a whole can easily touch the hearts of many. The Shape of Water’s beauty is found in it’s themes; sometimes the loneliest of people are the most kind with the most to offer this world, and there are always people who will fight for what is good and right.

4. The Haunting of Hill House

Yes, this is a television series…but this is my own list so I am going to cheat. This horror series was probably the most well put together television show…maybe ever (YOU GUYS, THE EDITING). While in my opinion this show is technically perfect, the themes left a deep mark. No, when I was little I did not experience tragedy at the level of these characters, nor did I see ghosts. What stuck out to me though was how this show subtly relates to spiritual and mental trauma. Many of us go through things that are hard to explain to the people we love (i.e. emotional and mental pain). Wounds that are not physical can only be felt inside the heads of those who are hurting. While that is next to impossible for the people around us to see, that does not mean they are not real.

3. A Star Is Born

A97BC1E0-E762-412E-AD3E-CB489E8ADD23.jpeg

When the trailers for this film came out, I honestly thought A Star Is Born would be terrible. But it was far from that. Seeing how each character was affected by addiction and human brokenness was powerful, but seeing how people loved beyond imperfections had an even greater power. The Ally and Jack relationship isn’t anything I aspire to have but the scene where (Spoiler) Ally visits Jack in rehab really stuck out to me. She arrives with open arms, and forgives without question. Ally doesn’t excuse Jacks mistakes but reminds him that he is loved. Their story is tragic, but a good reminder that there is always something to live for and fight for.

2. Love Simon

8A8F0945-008C-431A-9A23-6C4B5619C5E7.jpeg

Finally a teen “rom-com” that wasn’t riddled with cliches and terrible acting. I kid you not, every time I watch this movie my heart feels warm. The story is beautiful and full of depth. While the storyline doesn’t resemble my own life, it isn’t hard to learn from Love Simon. Sorry to sound cliched as I talk about this movie, but every time it just makes me feel loved. Never have I watched a movie that could make anyone watching it feel validated and important. No matter what their walk of life may be. This film is a hug, and that’s all I can really say about it.

1. Won’t You Be My Neighbor

13B8D94B-65CC-4C84-BF28-25C1C84A19FE.jpeg

Call Me by Your Name isn’t on here because I’ve already written about it twice, so I have to give my top spot to Won’t You Be My Neighbor. What can I say about this that has not already been said? It is perfect in every way. As mentioned a few blogs back, I watched this alone, in a theater, and cried for a good hour afterwords. During the time of my viewing, I was in a creative rut, I was beyond discouraged. What makes this film so good is that it does not shy away from the bad. Mr. Rogers wasn’t perfect and he certainly wasn’t always happy. Yet, he never stopped believing in making the world better. This wasn’t because of his own abilities, but because of his faith and the love of those around him. Those last few minutes of the film will never stop wrecking me in the best way possible.

Honorable Mentions:

Blackkklansman

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Revenge

A Quiet Place

What I Learned From a Year of Blogging

Today my blog turns one. I am very proud of this baby of mine, and blessed by all of those who have brought me to where I am today. Writing has always been a passion but I could never quiet find my “writing rhythm”. Every writing class I ever took was greatly treasured, even if I barely made it out with a B minus. Putting words together in a way that makes sense to many, as well as sounds good when reading, will always be a challenge. Yet this writing journey is something I have fallen in love with and hope I can do this for years to come.

5B3F1A7D-3AE1-4F77-BCBB-D252C0A52926.JPG

When I started this website, I was excited for every Tuesday morning when my piece would go live. Each Tuesday was spend replying to comments and enjoying the encouragement I would receive. Quickly, however, I learned that not every week was going to be an amazing week. Too many moments were spent looking through my analytics page, seeing what people were reading, and seeing what people weren’t reading. There were times I published something I personally loved that many did not read, and vice versa. It was hard to find my niche. But I will be forever grateful for the human beings who constantly reminded me that its not about how many people read my writing, it is about me writing. Many of us focus our creative passions around whether or not it is noticed and praised by others. We get so caught up in recognition that we forget the beauty of the practice itself.

A1F8855B-3146-49C3-A89F-BF1E88ED3209.JPG

During the first few months of the blogs existence I came to another conclusion: I am really bad at taking my own advice. Each topic that I had planned out would always end up being something I struggled with the week I decided to write on it. Ideas would come to me about how to deal with sadness or jealousy and that same day I would have to put those ideas into practice. This is not easy. But I was thankful that 2018 was the year were I gave myself grace, the year I said no more than yes. Maybe that sounds unproductive, but for that season I became enriched. The Lord showed me that it is okay to not be all together, it is okay to not be everything to everyone.

The main lesson that I believe I have learned is this: when we are stuck about what to do in our own lives we need to ask ourselves this question: “If a loved one was in the same situation, how would I approach them?” then relay that same message back to ourselves. It blew my mind when I struggled for the words to write, the advice to give, the topic to write about, and The Lord took care of me every single time. Majority of topics were born and written in the same night (usually the night before my own deadline). Many weeks I believed I needed to hear the words God gave me to write. None of this is really easy, and it never stops humbling me. Each piece of my pride and ideas of what I’m “supposed” to be has been slowly chipped away. What is left is a woman who is thankful. Thankful for the love of family, friends, online acquaintances, even strangers. Moral of the story (and my 2019 resolution) stop making decisions (or not making decisions) because of fear. Pursue your passions and do not shy away from any opportunity to learn.

Going into 2019 beyond excited for what’s in store. Thank you and keep on reading!

Going into 2019 beyond excited for what’s in store. Thank you and keep on reading!

When Hard Work Doesn't Pay Off

It has been weeks since I have written something. My days have consisted of waking up early and passing out by 9:15pm. Everything in between has been life moving forward. I am beyond thankful. When I initially forced myself to sit down and write (on a topic I had chosen weeks ago), I felt stuck. Nothing in my heart felt connected to what I had planned on writing about. Not to say it may not connect next week or the week after, but I think The Lord was being very clear that I needed to write about something else.

This season I have spent a lot of time reflecting. It has been almost a year since I graduated college, as well as about a year since I started this blog. Well I am beyond thankful for the many joys that continue to fill my life, I sit here frustrated. The world is filled with people working towards the greater good and chasing their dreams yet, for many, nothing happens. This saddens me. The other day I worked my butt off for a project and did not see the pay off that was equal to the hours I put into it. I know people who have spent years refining skills, reaching out to people, loving with all they have and still end up receiving less than what they have given.

8CBC5E42-797C-4393-8F02-67862A959783.JPG

Sometimes I want to revert back to my childlike self a scream at God “life is so unfair!!!”. Why do so many hardworking people not get what they deserve?

But here is the thing I need to remind myself: If I sat down and began writing every blessing I have ever received and would never be able to stop writing. Now many of you have heard this notion many times before, so have I. What has been a shift for me is the revelation as to why I am so blessed. Each joy The Lord has placed in my life has nothing to do with how hard I did or did not work. The blessings in my life are all about the fact that my life itself is a gift from God.

EAAFADFF-1422-40B5-B35F-D5E0CD439C13.JPG

Someone had mentioned to me once: If you ever decide to go back to school you should do it. Even if you are fifty years old and want to go for your Masters then PhD. The reason why is that, even if you go to school the rest of your life and never start your dream job; Each day was spent working towards something important.

Now maybe not all of us want to go back to school, but I believe we all should live our lives this way. Each new day is a gift, so why would we not treat that as such? Even if you feel like your efforts are never acknowledged or rewarded, keep working hard. That is what living a life looking forward means. The moment we stop trying is the moment we begin to live in the past. So be present and keep your eyes on what is yet to come.

BEB177C2-175A-4AFD-ABB1-E9181C7A9DA2.JPG

For Those In A Dry Spell

“Going through the motions” is such a simple phrase that has roots as deep and intertwined as Red Woods. It’s right up there with “Oh I’m fine!”. These words sound simple and are often brushed passed, but the mouth they are spoken from is hurting. People have clung to these phrases for years. Many see it as the only way to let people know how they are because any more words would cause a break down. For those who relate to this all to well, remember your dry spell is not a death sentence and there are tangible ways to move forward.

9BBBD9C6-C9E4-48D8-AD68-8841A16C1F4B.JPG

November is known to be a month where people get really depressed (yes November depression is a thing). Mostly this correlates to Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka sad: queue The Office reference) but I believe this goes beyond cold weather.

These past few days in Florida have been very grey. Not quiet cold but just grey. The days are getting dark early and I find myself feeling less than inspired. Spending days living in ruts is not how we were meant to live. So how do we move out of these dry spells?

First I think its important to remember our truths; for me I have to remind myself that God has made me creative for a reason and my view of things matter. Especially with this month being thanksgiving (but really should be done everyday), I practice gratitude in whatever way I can. The phrase “Start counting your blessings and you’ll begin to lose count” is very true. Even when a lot is going wrong, there is a lot of good that stays the same. That is a truth we cannot forget.

57EBC784-186B-4FE8-8149-F1D524A6DF95.JPG

When we go through the motions we don’t feel good. The same thing keeps repeating itself day after day and it feels like nothing will ever change. So add a new motion! This can be as simple as switching up what you eat for breakfast, or what you put in your coffee. Listen to different music on your way to work…or don’t listen to music at all! Imagine how much better we’d all feel if we incorporated something new into our lives each day? We all know most of our life is beyond our control, so incorporate small things that you can control.

When I am in a dry spell and gravitate towards isolation. Even typing that word makes me shudder. Pulling away from the world is such a dangerous thing, yet so easy to do. I think it is important for all of us to be honest with ourselves as well as each other. Admitting you do not have it all together is a good thing, but we need to stop keeping that to ourselves. Be honest with those you love and ride the dry spell out together.

As you continue your week I encourage you to try a few things. First: Write down three things you are thankful for. Second: Call a friend and ask them about their day. Third: Treat yourself in some way shape or form. Buy yourself ice cream, go to the movies, make a crazy good dinner. And finally; remind yourself that you do not need to wait for the next thing to live the most joy filled life. There are no sure fire ways to fix a rut, but there are always ways to add a little spark back into your life.

“The resistance is always fiercest on the borderline of breakthrough” Stephen Furtick

EA6FAE11-142E-4EF1-AE35-F32DC0B3B1E2.JPG

Autumn Series: Magic, Mental Health, and Butter Beer

When Fall rolls around it seems that watching the Harry Potter films is just as seasonal as binge eating all things pumpkin and trick or treating. These are some of the most beloved films of all time. I started obsessing over The Boy Who lived the summer I graduated High School. Everything about the story transfixed me. Then a year later I got the DVD boxed set for Christmas. Thus began the tradition of watching all the films every fall. The other night my mom and me finished the sixth film, The Half Blood Prince. No matter how many times I watch that one, my heart breaks. The genuine pain and heart that is shown through not only that particular film but all of the movies truly blows my mind. So today I want to highlight my favorite meaningful words that have come from this beloved franchise.

6A088EDA-F6E8-4217-8A83-7604FF94F000.JPG

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” Dumbledore

This sentiment is something that I am trying hard to be better at. There is so much joy that has come to me in seasons of trials simply by focusing on my present blessings. It is not an easy thing to do but my life is far better for it.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” Dumbledore

Yes most of this is Dumbledore quotes, but who is surprised? This also reminds me of the quote where Mister Rogers talks about how, in the midst of tragedy, always look for the people who are helping. If we work hard enough there was always be something that creates light in the midst of darkness.

603915D6-E9C9-4B2B-A3D6-6E9C330E4882.JPG

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” Sirius

These words acknowledge the brokenness we all share. No one is perfect. There is grace in every situation and we as humans have been given the gift to reach out and grab it. We do not have the power to change our circumstance, but we have the power to choose how we react.

2CFFB7CA-E28F-45AB-BCC6-179745F587B7.JPG

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” Dumbledore

This quote is probably my favorite. These words make me think about myself and anyone who has struggled with mental health. It can be easy to discredit someone because you know their feelings or fears are not actually “real”, but we must remember that they are real for the person involved. This is why Dumbledore has remained an icon in the same realm as Atticus Finch, Aslan and Gandolf. He reaches his hand out to others and makes them feel valued and seen. Every person needs the chance to have someone else to that for them.

Now tell me: what is your favorite Harry Potter Quote? How have these timeless stories impacted your life? I will forever get excited to watch and read these stories till I am at least ninety-nine.


Quick Butter Beer Recipe:

Take a mason jar, put in two big scoops of butter pecan ice cream then top the rest off with cream soda. Then stir it up really quick and that delicious foam will form on top. This is the easiest way I’ve found to have that quick Butter Beer fix right at home!

Autumn Series: Horror Movies For Those Who Like To Sleep At Night

October is in full swing. I thought I would take this month to do some more autumn themed blog posts and have a little fun. Many of us love the fall season, I could go on listing the different parts of the autumn months that make people excited but we already know all of them. For Floridians however, the cold weather and changing leaves is not really something we experience. Therefore when holidays rolls around most of us deep dive into decorating and themed activities to make it feel like fall. One of my favorite things to do this month is watch scary movies. I’m not super into slashers and I haven’t watched all of the classics; therefore my Halloween playlist looks a little bit different to most. I decided to also take into consideration those individuals that may not enjoy scary movies but would still like to get into the Halloween spirit…no pun intended. (Yes this list is all my opinion, some of you will probably read this and think these are all still terrifying…to each there own)

61b7ffbc76d6641f91fc2959c306d9ca.jpg

Hold The Dark (2018)

af20abe1516bead9743f7de6e9beb13f.jpg

Nothing super groundbreaking here but I thought this movie was decent for a Netflix original. More of a thriller/mystery than a horror film but the entirety of the movie depends on a creepy atmosphere. Dark in terms of both pallet and story line, yet Hold The Dark won’t send you screaming into your pillow.

The Shining (1980)

1b9bc3c25953dfc798945f31689d385f.jpg

Some may disagree, but I think this movie doesn’t get even remotely scary until the last act. Yeah the twins are super creepy but the age of the film rubs off on the overall horror factor. Yes this movie is amazing as well as revolutionary for it’s time but you probably won’t find yourself shaking in your boots.

Psycho (1960)

0ee1e0745ef1ce95bc80d9fae61ba899.jpg

If you want to get into scary movies in time for Halloween you can’t go wrong with the classics. For the few of you that haven’t seen beyond the iconic shower scene, Psycho has a great story line as well as interesting characters. This is a perfect film to put on on a gloomy day with a bunch of friends. It has just enough spooks to keep you entertained without giving you nightmares.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

1675768f5a04d5c1afcb6363bab2268a.jpg

I wish I could be born at a different time so I could watch this without knowing the entire plot. Still this movie is a classic for a reason. When I first started wanting to watch scary movies, my brother would watch M. Night Shyamalan films with me (only the decent ones of course, The Happening is purely for nights when I want a good laugh). The core of this film is more a moving drama, but has a few scary moments to make you feel the Halloween atmosphere.

Get Out (2017)

7690723e84d46953a0670cc571d8f699.jpg

Genres aside, this is one of the best movies ever made. Horrifying in a more real sense than cliches. For the few that haven’t seen Get Out you are truly missing out. More groundbreaking than scary, but still wildly entertaining.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

e0ffbe54db1c1774c596ddab221cc0fd.jpg

I LOVE THIS MOVIE. This film just barely falls into the horror category, although the premise is pretty freaky. Still, the lead character is incredibly intelligent, making you excited for whatever choice she will make next rather than terrified of what may happen to her.

The Invitation (2015)

b478ab8d4cc77fad82c38498eff9071b.jpg

While most of this list is not really put into any kind of order, this movie belongs at the top. I think The Invitation is one the most underrated movies of recent years. The performances are great and I have a soft spot for a slow burn film. A creepy atmosphere without going over the top, saving the intensity for just the right moments.


So that’s my list of all my favorite “sorta” scary films. What are your favorite spooky movies? I’d love to know! Hate all types of spooky films? How do you get in the Autumn Spirit? As always thanks for reading and Happy October!

When It's Hard To Be Still

I don’t have a problem saying no. I don’t have an issue over committing to things. I love my alone time and I love my social time. Sometimes I can be pretty lazy and I don’t feel guilty about it. For so long I looked at that as me being excellent at “self-care” or “relaxing”. I even saw it as me being strong in my faith because I was “giving up control”.

8D5207E3-9A78-4678-B7AA-BCF02CA06913.JPG
69C5E7B6-1269-4189-832E-13546C686620.JPG

Lately I have been searching for a new job to round out my schedule, therefore I have had a lot of time on my hands. Yet I feel as though I have been very busy. I have treated each new day as an opportunity to be distracted. Whether that be advancing in my Hogwarts Mystery game on my phone (you guys its so addicting) art projects, or reorganizing my closet, I feel like I need to be constantly distracted. Any moment of down time was always layered with something else. If I’m lying down, I have my phone or computer with me. If I am doing the dishes, I like for there to be some kind of noise taking place. When I am driving I must have music playing.

D9B016E3-6FC7-48B8-8DB6-F7F40C00521A.JPG

Yes in my head I was checking off all the boxes of self care and being productive. I didn’t suppress any sad emotions I was maybe feeling. I’ve been doing pretty good. But then today I felt like the Lord was saying “what if you would TRULY be still and know”. Could I still trust in The Lords plan if I just stopped. If I put everything away for a moment, let my mind be completely present, would I try to regain control? Would I still completely trust in Him if I didn’t constantly try distract from my reality?


Keeping yourself occupied is good. Relaxing is good. But I’m realizing that I need to call myself out on the fact that even when I am “relaxing’ or “putting myself first” I can still neglect simply sitting in The Lord’s presence. We need to find a balance between all three (business, relaxing, and being still). So I want to challenge all of us, myself included to carve out time to sit with Him. Life will keep spinning around us, there is nothing we can do to change that. For me, I am going to strive to wake up each day as not another day where I don’t have the perfect job…but a new day in living in The Lord’s grace and promise.

EBC7A9B9-6AAC-45E1-9F22-305ACE1679C9.JPG

You Deserve To Be Sad

Sorry I used click bait. Well I only kind of did, it depends on how you read this title. Did you read it as You Deserve To Be Sad? YOU DESERVE TO BE SAD! or You Deserve To Be Sad. If your brain looks like mine… this title is meant to be the latter. Because we deserve to no longer be held to the standard that we should always be fine.

98AE7105-7FB7-45B3-A593-B03969B057C7.JPG

The other day I cried. For the first time in a long time. Nothing too terrible happened but I was feeling sad. So I sat on my bed and sobbed. Mascara went all over my pillow and my nose looked a lot like Rudolf’s. In the moment it felt like nothing would ever get better. I then fell asleep on top of the covers. The next day I woke up a little more mellow, and even much more refreshed. In the midst of having a mini breakdown I felt as though The Lord grounded me. I was reminded that my foundation was strong and that even though I had a moment of visible brokenness, I was not destroyed by it. No nothing was fixed over night and no I wasn’t magically fine the next day. I realized its possible for life to get harder yet better at the same time.

C598A8CE-A3CC-449B-AC47-0DBFB9CF8F67.JPG

The more time past from that moment the better I felt. I was able to acknowledge even more of the good after I took some time to acknowledge what was not so good. So many of us have a hard time finding that happy medium. We either ignore what bothers us or we spend all of our time moping around. I firmly believe we deserve some moments where we just straight up feel terrible, we cry until we can’t cry anymore. But then we acknowledge the joy that comes with every new morning. You deserve to be sad because you deserve to be happy and free.

64B97B9C-FC01-4BFD-8E04-BD754AC03E61.JPG

Now Is Good

When I was a little I couldn't wait to be old enough to babysit. When I was old enough to babysit I couldn't wait until high school. When I was in high school I couldn't wait for college. When I reached college I couldn't wait to graduate and get a job. It is no secret that many of us spend the majority of our time waiting for "the next thing". As well as wishing we weren't were we are now. There is a difference between getting excited about the future and idolizing your future. I think when we idolize our future we let down our present selves. 

5C12C4F7-E3D4-49F9-95F9-72B76229771F.JPG

Growing up in youth ministry, then quickly spending most of my time volunteering in youth ministry after graduation, I heard the phrase "the youth are the future of the church" many times. When I was in high school I loved hearing that. It meant that once I got older I would do so much to impact the lives of others. As an adult I have a strong dislike of this phrase. I believe it takes away the value of what people are doing in the now. Why not say "youth are the church"? We should value what people can do now and encourage that as we move forward. 

62F87AC0-2757-4C9A-9842-F276F3104EB9.JPG

Waiting for the next great thing to happen in your life is difficult. No one really enjoys it. Many of us look at it as a time to grow and be humbled. But who says we can't enjoy the waiting process right now? I am currently in a season of waiting, and while it has its difficult moments, this has been the happiest I may have ever been. Looking at where I am right now, I'm living in the good old days (Que Andy Bernard quote for my The Office fans). Through waiting I am learning so much about myself. I finally stopped idolizing what I know will be a great future, but looked at my present and what a gift it is. 

The sun rises every morning. I get to sip delicious coffee and talk to people I love. Everyday is a new opportunity to create and be in community. I know my future will be great and it makes me excited, but in this moment as I wait, now is very good. 

55A17D9D-2B9F-49E6-B8DD-9B339FA79FC2.JPG

Optimists Are Not Naive

I spent many years of my life being afraid. My palms would sweat if the news was on before dinner, dreading whatever story was about to break. Any time someone mentioned anything bad going on in our world I would frantically try to change the subject. Realizing the weight of the world's reality was a true punch to the gut. And living in denial only made my anxieties worsen.

My time was spent trying to control something that was 120% out of my hands. Yes the world will always have something miserable happening but why would I still force myself to also living miserably? 

C9F97DEF-7BF4-4B3B-AF11-7AB0908253A9.JPG

I remember one year coming to school the day after an election. The amount of stress in the halls was so tangible you could breathe it in. I sat in my desk and a fellow classmate asked me if I was worried. I politely told them I was not, where they quickly added that I should be. My calm was only coming from The Lord and I told this fellow believer that I had no doubt God was in control. They rolled their eyes and called me naive. 

Similar interactions have taken place over the years. I feel as though there is a a level of anger pointed towards people who remain optimistic during trying times. I know I've felt angry at people who can remain calm when it seems like everything has hit the fan. But here's what I think we are forgetting:

D32D4C5B-A847-47B4-AD5C-CAD0BC212F3D.JPG

Optimistic people do grieve. They hurt. And they mourn. They are aware of terrible realities. The difference is they choose to move forward living the best life they possibly can with what they have, and this looks different for everyone. And it's okay if it takes you longer to get there. It took me a VERY long time to get to that place. (Also if you are an optimist, never try to force someone to be at the same level as you). My wish for you is to not live in a place of fear, but to live in a place of hope and take your time. Rest in the fact that tomorrow the sun will rise and a new day is waiting for you. 

 

Get Up And Leave Your Circle

Remember that really awkward feeling you had in middle school: you were standing in the hall between classes and all the people you're half friends with were talking in a circle...but the idea of even approaching the circle made you sick to your stomach? Or you were brave enough to insert yourself and everyone looked at you like you didn't belong? Now how many of you...who are a lot older that middle school age are saying to yourself right now "I still get that feeling sometimes". We live in a world of circles. There are circles we are a part of, circles we despise because we won't be let into them and circles we really want to join (yes the last two are different). 

File_001.png

Growing up I went through many phases of "circles". Most of the time I didn't have one and floated around to many different kinds of people and friendships. When I didn't have my circle I tried to do as much as I could to meet people. I was more outgoing to people I didn't know and talked to people I normally would not talk to. Yet when I went through "popular phases" I did not do that quiet as much. I had my friends...why would I need to talk to other people? There have even been times where new people have entered my life and I would think about not pursuing any form of friendship because I already had my people. 

File_002.png

Now this is not a post that is meant to bash people who have close knit friends. I love my close knit friends. They're amazing. What I love the most about my close friends however is that we can be so similar yet we are so different. I love (and sometimes hate) that a lot of them live in different states, and that some of them live a couple exits off the highway. Each of them adds something different and amazing to my life. But recently I was noticing, while it is a blessing to have close knit groups of friends...that meant not much would be changing in my life. 

I was so grateful to be invited to a book club a few months back. We are four ladies who are all totally different from each other. We talk about movies, work, kids and many other things. Its wonderful. And I'm noticing that I crave even more. My life feels rich and sweet when my horizons are expanded. So why not go take a cooking class? Or invite an acquaintance out for coffee?  Maybe it'll be awkward but I highly doubt you'll wish you didn't take that leap. Never stop trying to make new friends or look for new experiences. So many of us can be oh so lonely and community is what brings us into The Lords sweet sweet joy. 

Sisterhood, Jealousy, and Freedom

Five years ago, you could not find a more jealous individual than yours truly. If one of my beautiful female friends so much as talked to a guy I liked my mind would go straight to "wow they are really getting along, wow he must think she so much prettier than me, wow she sucks as a friend, I can't believe they will have babies in the next five seconds." Sad and silly...but all too true. Or I would get angry when friends of mine would "imitate" a style of mine. I would think "you don't have the right to get compliments for something I did first." Then it would be even worse when a dear friend, a fellow sister, would accomplish something that I had been striving to achieve myself. I would think..."I work hard, why do they get that reward before me? I deserve this." 

98723B12-FD11-43B1-8C6A-119D1352BDA9.JPG

It was about six months ago when I heard something that completely changed my mind about everything I used to believe and feel about what I just mentioned. I was tidying up my space, listening to the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You. They were talking about social media, comparison, and all that good stuff. Then one of the hosts dropped one of the best truth bombs of all time:

16947926-5399-42C7-8C53-443D1C506F97.JPG

"Her success is not your failure."  

Maybe that seems simple to some, but that blew my mind. For years I wasted time and energy wishing something to change that was never going to. By not encouraging my fellow sisters I believe I was essentially wishing ill upon them. After some time of self discovery and many triumphs of my dear female friends I realized something huge: I was actually happy. Typing this I kinda feel like I used to be a huge jerk but I know I am not alone. So many of us have a really hard time encouraging our friends and not being jealous. But I am hear today to tell you that on the other side of that is something so beautiful and so freeing. And it will make you cherish your female friendships so much more. 

B080433D-9D17-48A4-8C72-B0070C31F960.JPG

The other day I sat having lunch with two of my best ladies. We talked about new job opportunities and where our lives were going. My friend looked at me and said she was so proud and happy for me. That she was so happy for the journey I was on and happy that I was being blessed in small ways during this time. We spent the remainder of our time relishing in each others small fortunes.

I have also had a few friends get engaged and married. And let me tell you, experiencing a wedding of a dear friend without a single bitter single bone in my body is a joyful experience. Or feel those tears of joy come on when a sister gets engaged. I love being that person. She's much more exciting than the one brewing in bitterness. That girl doesn't get out much. That girl is not free.

Now to my ladies who feel like nothing good has happened to them in a very long time, I see you. You are an inspiration. Because you keep going, and you inspire me to keep going. You are worth it and you are treasured. Fighting bitterness and jealousy is damn difficult. But know that there is a sweet haven waiting for you on the other side. Women deserve to embrace each other in that land of delicious freedom.

CED44BFF-A449-4B47-A301-240E27A9F347.JPG

Songs That Get Mental Health

In my life I have witnessed many people who have tried so hard to understand what it means to understand what it means to have struggles with mental health. I have also witnessed a few people who have chosen to accept that they will never understand what it means to have struggles with mental health. Its a hard position to be in. People with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. want to be understood, but it can be next to impossible to explain to those around us...

For awhile I have been someone who enjoys sad songs. I like how they make me feel. No this isn't some dark and twisty thing... but more something in comparison to that subdued yet refreshed feeling after waking up from a two hour nap. I like how certain notes release certain chemical reactions in my brain causing me to feel something.  Then I realized that there was a lot of music out there that reminded me (explicitly or metaphorically) about what it means to live with mental health struggles. So I thought I would compile a list of my top songs that get mental health in order to possibly create an increase in understanding among those who want to learn more. 

9053F3E5-E12B-4745-B0FF-2ADDC59977B0.JPG

4. Gone Away by: Safety Suit

"Cause I'll be fine, oh don't you worry cause I'll be fine, you see I'm in a hurry to be gone away awhile." 

This is more of a stretched interpretation but the beauty of music is that it can mean different things to different people. But the main theme is about escaping. It talks about memories and the desire to simply get away from it all. Yet the tones hint at a sense of anger which reminds me of times where we try to convince people we are okay when really we need help. 

3. Breathing by: Ingrid Michaelson

"All we can do is keep breathing, all that I know is I'm breathing."

Another song that's not explicitly about mental health but encapsulates feelings that can be hard to articulate. The verses describe destruction going on around the world but then describe how all we can do is breath. Sometimes within the realm of mental health, there is not a lot that can be done during certain moments. But the biggest help one could give someone who is struggling is to remind them to keep breathing. They are here, they are alive, you are continuing to breath together. 

B9991B10-1FC3-4D34-A2DE-CC8C7597944E.JPG

2. Sour Breath by: Julien Baker

"The harder I swim the faster I sink"

If you don't know anything about Julien Baker, you really need to. She has experienced struggles with addiction and mental health. Her songs are devastating but oh so beautiful. This song speaks a lot to addiction and the toxic relationships that come along with that. 

1. Appointments by: Julien Baker

" Maybe it's all gonna turn out alright and I know that its not but I have to believe that it is"

Yes Julien Baker is my top two. Because she gets it. Never has a piece of art understood depression so deeply. If you are going to only listen to one of these songs, make it this one. 

Now I don't want you to look at this as just a mini playlist to make you sad. Yes it may make you sad but allow it to open your mind. Increased understanding is only a good thing. 

 

242DC14F-3912-4F30-AC62-22894C07812D.JPG

Queer Eye, CMBYN, and Mr. Rogers

There is a breakthrough happening in our world. And it's happening through two of my favorite mediums: Movies and television. More and more productions are being made that are not only gaining popularity but they are allowing viewers to do something they haven't done in awhile: give themselves permission to feel. 

IMG_0175 (1).JPG

I recently went and saw the Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? And like most people, I was completely wrecked by the time the credits rolled. The theater that was playing this movie had people placing full boxes of tissues next to each seat. I had heard many people on social media posting about how the theater was doing this and initially I thought it was a cute little added bonus to the movie going experience. Then when I thought about it more I realized that whether or not intended, this was a big deal. I looked at it as a symbol of unity among the viewers. An expression of "hey we know this message is going to impact everyone, do not feel like you need to hide." And of course throughout the last half of the film you hear a chorus of sniffles and people pulling at the tissue box. I looked around the theater and noticed a man repeatedly taking off his glasses in order to wipe his face.  I then thought of all the men who have and will be watching this movie. How many of them would reflect on their childhood and finally let their suppressed emotions be free. Obviously women struggle with bottling things up but I think there is a movement coming and being emotional will not longer be associated with being "un- manly". Being emotional is just part of being a person.

IMG_0176 (1).JPG

I went home and put on one of my favorites Call Me By Your Name, which I've written about here before in one of my earlier blog posts. While this is not a movie I would recommend everyone seeing (the age gap in the relationship can be a little weird) I found it so fascinating to hear people tell me what they thought of this film. The overall response was it was a film that just allowed them to BE. The story is just simply human, about people trying to find purpose and meaning. The journey to this discovery can be awkward or uncomfortable but at the end of this film it drives home the point that suppressing feeling will only lead to humans being more miserable. We have to tend to the fires of our pain and feeling, not blow it out.  

IMG_0177 (1).JPG

Now talking about how Queer Eye is changing the world could really be its own novel. And wow is this show changing the world. I don't think the world was expecting how moved it would be by a revamp reality makeover show. Like my other examples here it is giving humans permission to break down. It examines human lives and shows the world that we all share the same humanity. People want to love and be loved. I love it when Mamma Tammy (Season 2 episode 1) talks to the fab five about how The Lord knew what He was doing when he put these men together and now look at the impact that has taken place. And how each and every one of them is God's son. Seeing the guys emotional response to a southern christian woman tell them they are loved and adored by God is life changing.  

Whether you are a man, woman, gay, straight, young, old, black, white (I could go on forever) you deserve to feel free. You deserve to dig up the pain from your past then leave it at the door. More and more of us are realizing this truth. More and more of us are seeing that we are not all that different. Nothing is uniting us more right now than the power of vulnerability. We are truly not alone and we can do this whole life thing together, just don't forget the tissues. 

The World Needs Your Art

Lately, I've been feeling less than inspired. I feel like my head is spinning with a million half ideas with no clue how to execute them, then my mind just goes blank. And that can be a really tough feeling. To feel like there is so much you want to be able to do...but for some reason you can't go passed that point. I don't like that. 

Then there are those moments of doubt. Those moments where we can doubt are abilities so we do nothing. We can compare our gifts to others and feel inadequate. But here is what I have learned: The World needs your art.

4C36C2D1-BADB-42A7-8D7F-1A5E2075C9B9.JPG

Maybe you are looking at yourself saying you are not "a creative" but you are. Everyone needs an outlet of expression and everyone has an ability to add something special to the world. When I see people pursuing their creative dreams I feel so much joy. Maybe it does not grant them "success" but they keep at it. Because they know who they are and they know they are meant to feel that joy when the brush hits the canvas or when that first sound hits the microphone.  

0073FE22-1A47-4ED5-A710-48F56DDE139E.JPG

I remember about 8 months ago I was with my good friend and we were flipping through a modern photography book. As I flipped through the pages I vocally expressed my annoyance at how simple the concepts were and said the cliched phrase "this is dumb I could totally do that." Then my friend quickly added "but you didn't, and this person did." Now this interaction was very much in a joking manor but it stuck with me. I knew there was so much I could be doing but I wasn't. I am very thankful for that spring board of inspiration that really pushed me to do more. 

So whatever skills you posses (and you do have skills) we need them. I need them. The world needs your interpretation. Want to be a photographer? PLEASE DO IT. You deserve to have your interpretation be seen by the world. Who cares if everyone and their mom is being a photographer, I'm sure they won't mind if you become one too. So make your movie, paint a picture, build a table, write a book, I can't wait to see it. 


Here are some Instagram accounts that inspired this blog post (you should follow them):

@jack_the_cheney

@canceledplansmusic

@m_r_s_love

And if you want to follow on my art journey:

@m.love.designs

More Than A TV Show

To Matthew, for all the nights we spent watching TV waiting for our lives to get better, I think its safe to say we've made it. 

I want to write to you today about one of the most important things in my life. Something that changed my life and the lives of those I surrounded myself with. I want to write to you today about NBC's The Office. 

Now before you go into reading this post thinking it'll be something humorous or silly, I want you to know this is something that is actually a really serious deal to me, and I would love to share why to you, lovely reader, so lets begin. 

FullSizeRender (5).jpg

I have this very vague memory of 2005, I was in fifth grade. I remember finally being able to stay up past 8 o clock and watch prime time shows with my brother. I was so excited to finally do something that a "big kid" would do and also excited to share a common interest with my super cool big brother. Those are about all the details I can remember from The Office entering my life because honestly, when I look back on my life its hard to remember the times where this show wasn't in it.  

FullSizeRender (6).jpg

It was cool to grow up developing a quirky and odd sense of humor that would completely fit in at Dunder Mifflin. Or to go through all of my awkward boy crush's while Jim and Pam kept dancing around the fact that they loved one another.  And to then feel extreme heartbreak my last year of High school while Jim and Pam where experiencing tough marital issues. We were experiencing life at the same time. 

I remember many instances when I would have some depressive episodes, and I would lay on the couch and watch re runs of The Office for hours. It felt like home to me. Then there were times my brother would come into my room when I would be so distraught I had no idea what to do, and he would ask if I wanted to watch The Office. We would sit together, not talking but just enjoying each others company. It reminded me of one of the my favorite ways therapists tell you to be there for someone: you don't give advice, you don't talk, but you are simply present. It still to this day is one of the greatest gifts I could've ever been given. 

As I got older I loved researching behind the scenes of the show. Seeing how almost every actor was kind and caring, and also truly loved the people they were working with. I will never forget the week after my 16th birthday, it was Steve Carrel's last episode. I sat on my couch in tears as my favorite TV character closed a chapter in my favorite story. I loved how the moment when Pam says goodbye to him in the airport was a true and genuine moment. Jenna Fisher was actually telling Steve Carrel how much she loved him and how much she would miss working with him.  To this day I can't watch that moment without crying. 

FullSizeRender (7).jpg

The point is that things can be brought into our lives and be used in a much greater way than we could ever imagine. That's just how God works.  Me and my brother would bond with our friend Jenny over watching the office, only a few more years later Jenny would become his wife and the best addition to our family. The last episode of the show aired the night before my last day of high school. Matthew and I invited many friends over as we laughed and cried and enjoyed our time together. I went into my last day of high school excited and ready to take on whatever the world had for me. And of course I now have days where I doubt, but I just remember that young girl who knew she could conquer the world. 

"No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home." - Creed Bratton